Ketan Patel thought it was a joke when a customer told him he had sold a winning $5.5m Lotto ticket but when he found out it was true it was an "exciting" moment.

Mr Patel and his wife Sejai, who own the Sunnyside Foodmarket in Kamo, Whangarei, have sold a few winning tickets before. In July he sold a ticket which won $27,000 in second division and a ticket which won $9000 in Strike.

But a ticket which won $5.5m in Lotto's Powerball First Division on Wednesday night has topped this.

"We found out this morning, I was told by one of my customers that I have sold the Powerball ticket. I didn't believe it at first but as soon as I logged into the Lotto terminal I was so excited," Mr Patel said yesterday.


Mr Patel has owned the store for 13 years and said Lotto ticket sales were a bit quiet after a young couple from the Hibiscus Coast in Auckland won $44m with Powerball First Division last Wednesday.

However, he had about 150 people in the store yesterday morning checking to see if they were the lucky punter - more than normal, he said.

"People are excited but when they find out they haven't won they say 'it wasn't me this time'."

But despite this people were happy Mr Patel had sold the winning ticket. He said the customers of the shop are mainly locals who come in regularly.

"There's a great buzz in the shop, it's good for my local community," he said "My guess is that it is a local [who has won]."

Regulars who went to check their tickets yesterday congratulated Mr Patel on selling a winner and a common comment from people was "I wish it was me".

A local woman named Awhi, who did not want her last name used, went in to check her ticket yesterday and said it was her daughter who called and told them their local store had sold the winning ticket.

"If I had won the people of Kaikoura would have been in my heart," she said.

If a major prize winner claims their prize in-store, the Lotto terminal will play a short winning tune which is the same tune for all prizes. After this, the Lotto terminal will print a slip of paper with the exact amount of the prize, which the retailer can discreetly hand to the winner and take them into a quiet room to fill in a Prize Claim Form.

The Lotto terminal locks for all prizes of $5000 or more and the retailer needs to contact Lotto NZ to unlock the terminal. At this stage the winner will also have a quick chat with the Lotto NZ team and will be invited to the Auckland head office to claim their prize in person.
Mr Patel said he was nervous waiting for the prize to be claimed.

As of 4pm yesterday the prize was yet to be claimed, according to Lotto NZ.